Friday, January 12, 2007

Washington's Epic Battle, War or Peace

By Brent Budowsky
January 12, 2007

With the Democratic Congress only days old, an epic battle is unfolding in Washington with great dangers, enormous consequences and a historic opportunity.

Let's review the playing field, which is often mischaracterized on the television news.

First, there is an unfolding Democratic strategy to halt the escalation of the war in Iraq as proposed by President Bush's speech in open defiance of the voters' will as expressed in the 2006 election.

Second, there is a raging battle behid the scenes pitting advocates of a preemptive attack against Iran, led by the same civilian neoconservatives who advocated the Iraq War, against critics who view such an attack as catastrophically dangerous. These opponents of a new preemptive war include many in the military and intelligence worlds in the United States and Israel.

Third, there is a grand constitutional battle that will soon be front-page news, pitting those who claim that the President possesses unilateral power to initiate preemptive war against those who argue that it is illegal and unconstitutional for the President to wage new wars without prior congressional approval.

While these battles superficially resemble the Washington kabuki play that preceded the Iraq War in 2002-03, there are two big differences that work to George Bush's great disadvantage and may result in a different outcome.

Read on.


knowBuddhaU said...

I was among those disappointed by the seeming timidity of a sense of the Congress resolution. Thanks for the perspective.

I also appreciate the news about 21 Republican vs. only 12 Democratic senators up for reelection in 2008. Combined with the presidential campaign, this makes for a huge difference between the buildup to Iraq and the present noises about Iran.

"There is real danger here," you say. I agree. But you didn't mention the reason I'm most worried about Mr. Bush. For most people, the thought of provoking regional war in the Middle East is itself frightening enough to work hard to prevent it. I don't think this applies as much to Mr. Bush. I worry that his dualistic thinking (with us or against us, good vs. evil, etc.) and his religious views (the return of his mythological once-and-future king in the form of Jesus Christ, similar to the Mahdi of the Shia) will only serve to goad him ever onward.

Fear of war serves as a brake on most of us. Does Mr. Bush see regional war in the Middle East as inevitable, perhaps even desirable? Do the Shia likewise see war as a way to provoke the return of the Twelfth Imam?

After all, it takes two to tango.

Emphyrio said...

This is highly illuminating, and the most hopeful thing I've read for some time. Beyond the "first 100 hours" gambit, I didn't understand the Democrats strategy.

This makes it sound like we've been underestimating them for some time.


I hope Biden's "marker" about an attack on Iran leading to a constitutional confrontation gets repeated and amplified.

Bush must get the message that the "wartime President" mantle will not be the license-to-do-whatever it was earlier in his Presidency.